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in the drift: Fall 2016


Issue 26, Fall 2016

Dear Society for Freshwater Science,

We hope you've all recovered from the annual meeting and field season hangover and are ready to roll on preparation for the Raleigh 2017 meeting. Workshops are already being organized, and the next meeting-related deadline is to submit your ideas for special sessions to organizer Krista Capps by 16 October. Before you know it, abstracts will be due!

There are some changes in-process regarding both the website and the newsletter. First, the website is in transition, so keep patient on that front. The PubComm recently sent out an RFP for a website redesign that will meet several objectives, including (but not limited to) much improved format for mobile devices, more space for featured content, and an updated and creative design that reflects the mission and interests of SFS. Stay tuned.

On the newsletter front, we welcome two new contributors, Rachel Voight and David Manning. They worked together this issue on the ITD Q&A and will be contributing more in future issues. Rachel plans to work closely with SFS social media, including running stats and providing a written summary of the use of the #2017SFS hashtag during the upcoming Raleigh meeting. Thanks, Rachel and David!

We also have a new advice column called "Dear Nick". Yes, you guessed it. Our own Nick Aumen will be providing "Dear Abby" style advice in his own thoughtful, direct, and concise manner. The first topic is "how to provide useful scientific criticism without being an a-hole". If you need advice on any such obvious theme, contact us. We are sure Nick can help you out.

This issue has seven articles, a record for us. Happy reading, and thanks for being the coolest scientific society ever!


Short SFS notes and quick links collected from "the drift"


Freshwater Science Article Spotlight:

Undergrad research on detritivores-turned-cannibals

Lund, Wissinger, and Peckarsky, Issue 35(2) pages 619-630.

Asynarchus nigriculus. The latest traits databases will tell you that this limnephilid is a shredder, a consumer of organic detritus like leaves. Then this issue's spotlighted FWS authors come along and tell us that A. nigriculus commonly practices cannibalism. Not just garden-variety cannibalism either: 'mob' cannibalism, which includes frenetic group fighting among late-instar larvae followed by the killing and devouring of targeted individuals. Yikes. Co-author Scott Wissinger and his group had observed this phenomenon regularly over the many-year course of their studies of alpine and subalpine snowmelt-fed ponds near the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (RMBL) in Colorado. They had hypotheses about what sorts of environmental cues might turn these innocent detritivores into belligerent, voracious cannibals, but until first author Jessica Lund arrived to do an undergraduate summer project in 2012, the ideas had not been rigorously tested.

Asynarchus nigriculus mob cannibalism in action in a Colorado Rocky mountain subalpine pond. Scott says to note "bits of the victim's case at the bottom of the heap". (photo: Angus McIntosh)


Figure 1 from the FWS paper: Intermittent pond drying rates can vary quite a bit from one year to the next. Results of the spotlighted paper suggest that cannibalistic behavior in the abundant A. nigriculus larvae is cued by both increasing population density and decreasing water depth as the ponds dry.

During her junior (3rd) year at the University of Wisconsin Madison, Jessica helped out on a project in the joint lab group of co-author Bobbi Peckarsky and Peter McIntyre, during which she took a shine to aquatic ecology. So Bobbi hooked her up for a summer research experience with long-time RMBL colleague and friend Scott Wissinger in the intermittent ponds of the high Rockies. Jessica also proceeded to apply for (and receive!) a Mark Mensink Honors Research Grant from the U of Wisconsin to support the project and mold it into her senior thesis.

So what did Jessica and the rest of the team find out that summer? Experimental treatments in mesocosms of different sizes (to maintain constant water depth and total numbers of A. nigriculus individuals but vary the population densities) showed that crowding increased the rate of aggressive behaviors, including "proleg wrestling, biting, case grazing, and case shaking". A second experiment that controlled for population density but varied water depths indicated that decreasing depth also led independently to increased aggressive behavior, but when Jessica et al. supplemented food resources in the mesocosms (high-quality protein in the form of "freeze-dried Tubifex worms", mmm delicious), aggressive behavior diminished. So it appears that the normally detritivorous A. nigriculus practice cannibalism (and potentially scavenging of other animal remains) to supplement protein intake for faster growth to maturity as a response to proximate cues signaling the impending drying of their pond habitat.

On a similar note, Jessica reported that Scott "would pass around little chocolates" each morning to the [Homo sapiens] field team. Although not freeze-dried Tubifex worms, we can only assume that this nutritional supplementation was effective in reducing aggressive behaviors among the conspecific researchers.

Jessica with the four sizes of mesocosms used in the Asynarchus crowding experiment. (photo: Scott Wissinger)

We are psyched that this is the first-ever FWS spotlighted article led by an undergraduate researcher. Hoping for some insight, we asked Jessica about the experience of her first major field research project, if/how it might have influenced her career path, and if she had any advice for other undergrads. She told us that prior to landing in Bobbi and Peter's group at Wisconsin, she had already dabbled in research in biochemistry and plant pathology. Luckily for the world of freshwater science, she got bit by the aquatic ecology bug and is apparently going to stick with it. Her advice for other students is based on her own trajectory: "try out different research subjects to see what you're really passionate about - it might surprise you!" She appears to have maintained her passion through the intensive RMBL fieldwork in the exceedingly dry summer of 2012, and also through recurring nightmares of overnight rain storms obliterating her carefully monitored mesocosm water depths. (Did she also have nightmares about giant cannibalistic caddisflies? We aren't sure about that one.) Unfortunately for the caddisfly lovers among us, she is hoping to start a Masters program soon with an emphasis on fish population genetics. In spite of moving towards fish-squeezing and away from "the bugs", we think it's pretty awesome she's staying in the world of freshwater science. During the intervening years since she finished her bachelor's degree, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in western Africa, and she also got married and changed her last name from Lund to Diallo. So keep eyes open for more fantastic work from Jessica under her new name!

Team 'mob cannibalism' 2012, presumably appeased by tiny chocolates during Rocky-Mountain fieldwork. L to R: Jessica Lund, Jason Drake, Mike Vlah, Rachel Burns, Scott Wissinger.


Star of the show: Asynarchus nigriculus 5th instar larva. Who would think it could be so violent? (photo: Angus McIntosh)


Pam's Journal Notes

Some of the things we love most about SFS are the supportive and collegial nature of our society and how committed we are to mentoring students and early career scientists. In this Issue, Pam gives us one more example of how SFS puts this positive spirit into practice. Irwin Polls has led the creation of a new endowment fund to support authors who need financial assistance to publish in Freshwater Science, including editorial assistance to authors whose primary language is not English. Read on to find out how you can help support this new effort.

Irwin Polls, the Business Manager of the Journal of the North American Benthological Society (J-NABS) now Freshwater Science (FWS), has worked hard since 1985 (how old were you then?) to manage the journal's budget in a way that would ensure that it could 'pay its own way' annually without a subsidy from the society and would provide a financial reserve large enough to cover the cost of new initiatives, special projects, unforeseen circumstances, or operating the journal in the event of a financial emergency. He has had to dip into that reserve only rarely (including once to help provide me with the opportunity to learn how to be an Editor). Under his stewardship, the reserve has grown large enough that 75% of it can be used to establish an Endowed Publication Fund (EPF), while the remaining 25% can be used for its original purpose as a 'rainy day' reserve.

The purpose of the EPF is to provide "financial support to authors who submit manuscripts for publication in Freshwater Science. Funding awards shall be available to authors for improving the quality, distribution, and access of scientific papers submitted or published in Freshwater Science, including but not limited to editorial assistance to authors whose primary language is not English, page charges, open access fees, and charges for color figures." The capital in the EPF will be structured so the principal amount invested remains intact, while investment income from dividends and interest is available to fund awards. Thus, funds are limited and will be awarded on the basis of criteria and procedures established by the Journal Endowment Committee, comprising the journal's Editor and Business Manager, one member of the Editorial Board, the Chairperson of the Publication Committee, and one member of the SFS Board of Trustees. All of the administrative framework is currently under development, and we will let you know when we are ready to begin funding awards. Society members can contribute donations to the EPF, which will be will be listed with other society endowments on the annual renewal notice.

Freshwater Science Cover

The establishment of the EPF is the culmination of a long-term goal for Irwin. I suspect it was sparked by the strong commitment on the part of Rosemary Mackay, the first editor of J-NABS, and Dave Rosenberg, her successor, and the current Editor, who ushered the journal into the electronic age, to provide authors with a positive publishing experience that emphasized excellence in writing/editing, high-quality presentation of high-quality science, and a supportive atmosphere, especially for new authors and early-career scientists. A positive experience and high quality publication means authors and readers will keep coming back to FWS. I share the views of Rosemary and Dave, and like Irwin, I recognize that funding, especially for scientific publication, is tight. I am thrilled to have this new resource available because helping authors ensures that every time a new issue arrives in my mailbox (yes, I still get paper), I will be crowing over its beauty (I think the covers are gorgeous) and proud to show my colleagues what we (our authors, referees, journal staff, Irwin, the Editorial Board, and our partner, the University of Chicago Press) have achieved inside those covers.


advice by Nick Aumen

DEAR NICK: Lately I've noticed a few distraught young students following harsh criticism of their SFS presentations. Is it possible to provide useful scientific criticism without being too, well, critical? I don't want to be an a..hole!

DEAR BIG-SHOT : We really don't want you to be an a..hole either! We value SFS meetings because they are intellectual, productive, collegial, and fun. We scientists mostly are nerds — not known for our social graces and diplomacy (OK, and maybe not for our attire, either). Nevertheless, it certainly is possible to provide constructive criticism without being mean. Here are some tips.

First, think of the attributes you value as a good scientist — factual, unbiased, objective, logical, rational, critical thinking, level-headed. You shun emotion, passion, feelings, and caring. These attributes have no place in science or at a scientific meeting, right? Can you see Mr. Spock in the mirror? But don't be a mean Mr. Spock. Think about what you were like as a young student, and treat students as you wanted to be treated. Remember that SFS is renowned for its mentoring and support of students. It is what drew me to meetings as a young graduate student and has kept me coming back for 30+ years. So, before you spout out that torrent of criticism, however well-intended it may be for the good of the student's scientific development process, stop long enough to think about your less-experienced self, and how you would have liked to receive that input.

Second, always start with positive comments, then deliver the criticism gently. It is possible to couple the objectiveness of scientific input with a caring and kind approach (see Emily's latest President's Environment). We can't fix people who are just plain mean-spirited, but we can make sure that we couple science and all of its wonderful attributes with compassion and good ol' kindness.

Now, make sure you approach 10 graduate students at their annual meeting posters or after their talks, and put this advice into practice!



Ted and coauthors recently published an article in BioScience about dam management impacts — specifically hydropeaking — on aquatic insects and river food webs titled "Flow management for hydropower extirpates aquatic insects, undermining river food webs". We got a chance to chat with Ted and learn more about what happened behind the scenes of this three-year study that included citizen scientists rafting the Grand Canyon.

ITD: Would you give a brief definition of hydropeaking and how it relates to aquatic insects?

Ted: Hydropeaking is the practice of raising and lowering water releases from hydropower dams to meet temporal changes in electricity demand. Downstream of hydropeaking dams, river flows are typically low at night and then in the morning river flows are increased, sometimes by a factor of 10 or more, to meet the increases in electricity demand that occur as people begin their day. In our paper we found that hydropeaking was constraining the production and diversity of aquatic insects in rivers via acute mortality of insect eggs that are being laid along river shorelines.

ITD: How widespread an issue is hydropeaking in river ecosystems?

Ted: According to a recent paper by Ryan McManamay, there are around 250 dams in the United States that practice hydropeaking (also known as 'load following'). That is a small number when you consider there are over 9,000 large dams in the U.S., but according to this recent analysis hydropeaking dams are the largest dams, with the largest reservoirs, on the largest rivers. In other words, hydropeaking is not a widespread mode of operation for dams in general, but hydropeaking is a widespread mode of operation for the largest dams in the U.S.

Lead author Ted Kennedy looking through a kick net sample from the Colorado River and confirming there are no mayflies downstream of Glen Canyon Dam. (photo: Freshwaters Illustrated / USGS).


ITD: It must be an incredible experience to do stream ecology in the iconic Grand Canyon. But logistically, the remoteness must be challenging. Would you tell us more about working there?

It is a magical feeling pushing off from the Lees Ferry boat ramp knowing that for the next two weeks you will be doing some of the most exciting adventure ecology on Earth. Preparing and packing for one of these huge science river trips requires hundreds of hours, and we are fortunate to have an incredible support staff at my office [USGS Southwest Biological Science Center] that helps us pull it off. On these river trips we also get to work with expert boatmen that have done hundreds of trips through Grand Canyon. These river guides know the Canyon like the back of their hand, and they love the challenge of getting scientists to crazy places so they can collect samples, for example by up-running rapids in motor boats at night so we can do benthic sampling while the hydropeaking tide is low. But the general unsuitability of traditional benthic sampling techniques has really forced us to innovate and develop new approaches, such as the citizen science light trapping of adult aquatic insects that is featured in our paper.

ITD: It sounds like citizen science contributed enormously to your data collection. Would you fill us in on your experiences in training and equipping the public to collect quality data?

Training and equipping river rafters to collect quality data turned out to be relatively easy and was definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of this project. We spent a lot of time on the front end developing simple datasheets and a quick light trap sampling protocol that folks would be willing to do each night. We also conducted face-to-face training for everyone involved in the project prior to his or her first river trip, and had regular check-ins early on to ensure everything was going smoothly. We also listened to feedback from participants and tweaked protocols as the project went along. For example, one of the big complaints we heard from participants was it took a lot of time writing out complex and unique sample labels, and we sometimes had trouble reading these labels in the lab as well. Based on this feedback, we implemented a bar code labeling scheme where one bar code sticker is placed on the sample data sheet and a twin barcode sticker is placed on the sample bottle. This saved participants time and completely eliminated sample labeling errors. Once I decided to try citizen science, I went all in, and during our first year river guides collected nearly 1000 light trap samples for us. I think we're over 5,000 light trap samples and more than 5 million individual aquatic insects now (2016). Given the low cost and incredible scope of these data, I am certain citizen science light trapping will be a central component of ecosystem monitoring in Grand Canyon for decades to come.

The light trap used by citizen scientists to collect adult aquatic insects in Grand Canyon. This simple light trap was developed by Dean Blinn, longtime NABS/SFS member and emeritus faculty member at Northern Arizona University. (photo: Freshwaters Illustrated / USGS).


ITD: A number of SFSers are contemplating how to incorporate citizen science in their own field research. Were there any mishaps or lessons you would be willing to share that would help newcomers to the citizen-science experience?

Ted: For aquatic scientists that are considering adding citizen science to their toolkit, my main piece of advice is to seek out practitioners at the start of a project. Working with practitioners such as river guides, barge captains, fishing guides, and other members of the public that make a living in the habitat you study has several advantages. Because practitioner's livelihoods are directly tied to the water, they are keenly interested in the ecosystem and learning more about it. Just having conversations with participants will often provide tons of useful insights. Practitioners are also spending a considerable portion of the year on the water, so working with just a handful of these folks can yield lots of samples and data.

ITD: Life history traits of aquatic insects were essential components of your research, but they are often ignored in applied studies of aquatic ecology. What led you and your co-authors to emphasize life history strategies as key variables in this study?

Ted: The citizen science data of adult insect abundance in Grand Canyon actually led us straight to insect traits and life history strategies. After the first year of Grand Canyon citizen science data in 2012, I was working up the midge abundance data, and the spatial periodicity we show in our paper was apparent after just this first year of data. I was wracking my brain thinking about what could be driving this pattern, and scoured the literature looking for studies that had evaluated non-larval life stages of aquatic insects. One of the first papers I came across was Andrea Encalada and Bobbi Peckarsky's 2012 Oecologia paper, where they experimentally showed that the availability of egg laying substrates used by Baetis mayflies affected the abundance of late-stage nymphs nearly a year later. When I first read this paper I started hyperventilating, because it was immediately apparent that Baetis had an egg laying strategy that was completely incompatible with the hydropeaking that occurs in Grand Canyon. My colleagues and I spent the next couple years building the story around the citizen science data, but our focus on egg laying traits all started with the citizen science data, and an awesome paper by Andrea and Bobbi demonstrating the importance of insect traits and non-larval life stages.

Co-authors Eric Kortenhoeven and Anya Metcalfe can't find any mayflies in Grand Canyon either. Eric and Anya each counted over 1 million midges as part of the project. (photo: Freshwaters Illustrated / USGS) .


ITD: This paper includes a lot of cool figures that communicate more than the text alone. What was the process like of deciding on and developing the figures?

Ted: Making high quality figures is a lot easier when you have someone on your team that has the patience and skill to make R statistical software do their bidding (looking at you, Jeff Muehlbauer). It was also a pleasure working with Jeremy Monroe of Freshwaters Illustrated to develop the conceptual figure that pulled the entire story together. We actually sent our manuscript to three different journals before sending it to BioScience, and it never even got sent out for review at those other journals. We knew we had a compelling story when we first submitted the original manuscript, and after each turbo-rejection we realized we weren't getting that story across to busy editors, so existing figures were polished, and new ones developed, with each subsequent revision. Essentially, the final figures that appear in our BioScience paper were conceived and sharpened in the crucible of manuscript rejections.

R guru and USGS co-author Jeff Muehlbauer (on left) listening to his former PhD adviser Martin Doyle (right, of Duke University) explain his new theory of how Hermit Rapid's famous standing waves form while river guide Eric Christenson (center, not buying the new theory) navigates through the beautiful Muav Gorge. (photo: Freshwaters Illustrated / USGS) .


ITD: The idea of the natural flow regime of rivers driving ecological and evolutionary response in stream biota has been an important paradigm in our field over past decades. Has there been any response to your paper among the scientific community so far, regarding managing dams to better mimic the natural flow regime?

Ted: I have been blown away by the positive reception our paper has gotten from the scientific community. I got tons of positive feedback and interest from folks at the SFS Annual Meeting SFS in Sacramento. And then just recently, LeRoy Poff and Jack Schmidt wrote a Perspectives article that was published in Science ('How dams can go with the flow') highlighting our paper and how it demonstrates that small tweaks to dam operations have the potential to yield large ecological benefits. I printed this Perspectives article out and have it in my desk drawer. I plan to pull it out and read it anytime things aren't going well at work; hopefully it just gathers dust there in the desk drawer.

ITD: Scientists by nature are sometimes shy to approach contentious societal issues (like dam management). Do you have any suggestions for other researchers who want to wade into applying their work to important, but controversial, management challenges?

Ted: I personally think it is important to have solid science that identifies cause and effect mechanisms before wading into controversial management challenges, but my thinking on this issue is obviously influenced by my position with the US Geological Survey and my role as science provider to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program. I also think it is really useful when you are able to use your science to identify a range of potential management solutions, because the best solution for a scientist may not represent the best solution for a policy maker or manager.

ITD: There has been a lot of popular press following this publication. To what do you attribute this success?

Ted: I think part of the reason for this positive reception is the paper covers several topics that the public is tracking including renewable energy, citizen science, and ecosystem health. It also never hurts having the words Grand Canyon in the abstract. We also close the paper by proposing a win-win management solution that has the potential to improve river health while still providing renewable hydropower production that society needs. I like to think this type of constructive and positive science story will always have broad appeal with the public, irrespective of whether the study was carried out in a famous landscape.



The California chapter of SFS ('CalSFS') is on a roll and has committed to supporting student involvement in the Society. Last year, they initiated a student travel scholarship for annual meetings, and Jon Hollis of Humboldt State University was the inaugural awardee. Jon attended the Sacramento meeting and presented a poster — his first time presenting research at a scientific conference! CalSFS plans to continue supporting student travel through membership dues and fundraisers for years to come. Matt Cover, who oversees the chapter's student outreach effort, says "the student travel scholarship, along with our annual chapter meeting, are efforts to expand the involvement of both graduate and undergraduate students in our society and our discipline". CalSFS will collect short essays from funded students about their SFS annual meeting experiences, eventually to be posted for sharing on the Chapter website. We thank the California chapter and awardee Jon Hollis for sharing his Sacramento experience with ITD:

Last May, I attended the SFS annual meeting held in Sacramento. This was my first time at an SFS conference, and my decision to attend was largely determined by the generous support provided to me through CalSFS's Student Travel Grant. As the only graduate student from Humboldt State University attending, and a brand new member of SFS, I was excited (and perhaps a little anxious) to present my research objectives for the first time publicly at the poster session ("Export of invertebrate drift from fishless headwater streams in the Lower Klamath River Basin, California, and its use by trout"), but I really had no idea what to expect; I wondered how big the venue would be, how many people normally attend, if anyone would show interest in my poster, and if I'd get the opportunity to speak with SFS veterans more broadly about our field of research. The morning before the opening ceremonies, I had breakfast with a couple of HSU alums that happen to live and work nearby the Sacramento Convention Center. Afterwards, they walked with me over to the venue and joked, "Good luck on your first day of school son. Try to make some friends." As I entered, it became clear that this was going to be an enormous event (at least compared to the smaller regional conferences I had attended in the past). I suppose if I'm being honest, I did feel a bit of that "first day of school" apprehension.

But those feelings quickly disappeared. At the registration table I was surprised to recognize a PhD student from a larger research university that I share study sites with. Through him, I was quickly tied in with a few dozen other attendees from larger lab groups. It was really remarkable how welcoming, casual, and accessible everyone at SFS was. As an example, I had a lovely time discussing my research and SFS with the president of the Society; going into this I had zero expectations that something like that would occur. The feedback and support that I got during my poster presentation was very helpful and encouraging, and I look forward to presenting my findings next summer in Raleigh. I was impressed by the effort SFS makes to breaking down the scientific and academic hierarchies and fostering an environment where one can experience an environment of professional camaraderie and collaboration. I think it is perhaps their enthusiasm for and commitment to social engagement, both during and after hours, that helps makes this possible.

Jon Hollis presents his research at the poster session at the 2016 annual meeting in Sacramento.


CSSP updates from the Chair of its board, our own Dave Penrose

SFS has been a member of the Council of Scientific Societies Presidents (CSSP; not to be confused with 'CASS', the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies) since 2000, and our presidents or presidents-elect have attended one or both of the biannual CSSP meetings each year since joining. We also have maintained a presence on the CSSP Board of Directors, and recently SFS ex-president Dave Penrose was elected Chair. (Dave also got to go to Oslo to represent CSSP at the Kavli Awards earlier this month!) Thanks to Dave for contributing the following update on 2016 significant activities of the CSSP:

The May 2016 CSSP meeting was held in the magnificent facilities at the Carnegie Institution for Science, as part of a new collaboration with this long-standing science and education institution. The biannual conferences are organized around themes and needs discussed during committee meetings and as part of member feedback. One of the themes of the May meeting was to discuss Society Best Practices and to focus on information that is useful to CSSP members as society leaders. Dr. Robert Wiedenmann (past president of the Entomological Society) gave an illuminating presentation delving into a demographic model created to optimize recruiting, retention, and diversity efforts by thinking of members in various stages of their careers: student member, student transition, early professional member, honorary, emeritus, family member, president circle and sustaining associate. These are memberships categories now used by the Entomological Society. Jasper Simons (American Psychological Association) and John Tidwell (American Chemical Society) also gave enlightening presentations on similar themes in this session. My take away message is that SFS should consider how to retain, in addition to recruiting members. One approach might be to consider ways to keep members active/engaged in the Society specifically according to career stage.

Dave Penrose enjoying a fancy dinner and talking water issues with John Holdren, President Obama's Senior Science Advisor, at the CSSP meeting this past May (photo: Madeleine Jacobs)

In addition to Society Best Practices another major theme of the May meeting was the challenge of managing cyber-data: the state of data integrity, data curation and digital preservation. Attendees were treated to three experts who examined the state of data integrity, curation, and preservation from different perspectives. They examined the constraints on long-term access to digital data and the processes that we can put in place to better manage our data. They examined issues surrounding digital curation methods and practices; approaches to long-term data management; and the role of policies, costs, and mechanisms for ensuring data resilience, accessibility and reusability in the context of information risk and change. The session focused on the challenges of managing cyber data in today's environment, including intelligent uses of information technology and networked information, development of data grids, digital libraries and preservation, and public access.

Meeting attendees were challenged by Liz Lyons (University of Pittsburg) and Reagan Moore (University of North Carolina) in particular to think about how they could advocate for more transparent, open data curation, and scholarship. We were asked to think about how CSSP could help build capacity and capability for data curation, how it could support sustainable digital research, and engage new research service models. The discussion centered on an increased role for scientific societies to provide input on what types of data should be preserved and if/when the societies themselves should be responsible for cyber data management. This is a conversation that SFSters should have in the near future.

Sessions were also held that dealt with the next generation science standards, leadership in science and engineering, frontiers of science, and talking to Congress.

Plans are now well under way for a productive December 2016 CSSP conference that will focus on 'Leading in the Next Era'. Between now and December CSSP Executive Board members will identify members of each political party's transition team, specifically the science advisor of each team. It's important at this critical stage in our history that science is well represented in Congress.



Party was on in the Golden State

The capital of the Golden State drew a big freshwater crowd. According to Joy at USU Conference Services, we had a total of 964 registrants, 13 exhibitors, and 28 guests. Therefore, we officially broke 1000! (Abstracts numbered 827.)

"Where else can you behave like this?!". In his presidential address, Matt Whiles speculated about how to recruit and maintain a diversity of folks in SFS. Ideas included comradery driven by interests not shared by many others in the world, easy and fun networking, and [nontraditional?] role models (One of Matt's was Bruce Wallace: "if he can pull it off, surely I can").

Environmental Stewardship Award to Jim Harrington. Also the overseer of the California SFS Chapter, which seems to be leading the charge in terms of chapter membership, fundraising, and activities. What the award means to Jim: "I'm getting old". Since his first NABS meeting at BYU (1981?), the Society has helped him to "be inspired, and not take things too seriously".

No Distinguished Service Award this year. No one was nominated. How is this possible? (Don't let it happen again, SFSters!)

New approach to the Hynes Award. Up to now, the Hynes Award winner (elected just a few weeks before the annual meeting) has given a short talk at the upcoming meeting. New approach: the current year's recipient will address SFS at the following year's meeting. This means that we get to look forward to a presentation from 2016 Hynes winner Erin Hotchkiss in Raleigh. Yay!

Award of Excellence. Cliff Dahm revealed in his address that he started on the "dark side" (oceanography) but quickly switched to streams. But that didn't last long, and he brought tools he developed for chemical oceanography to freshwater ecology (e.g. a micro-Winkler technique). It seems Cliff has done it all: from succession on Mt St Helens, to fire ecology, to intermittent rivers, to "continental smokers", to broad-scale policy (e.g. The Delta Plan). He also is a champion handball player, and went undefeated in doubles play for >10 consecutive years. Word on the street is that he also is a fantastic mentor to his students.

But what about going from streams to ocean? Algae ("the good, the bad, and the structural") were the stars of Mary Power's Monday morning plenary. And yes, she now has projects in the intertidal, where it appears that invertebrate consumers prefer "good" river algae to the putatively delicious marine-derived Ulva ("sea lettuce"). Who wouldn't want to join an "Eel River Algal Foray" to find out about how algae links to nearly everything ecological and societal in the California Coast Range?

Find yourself a "stream keeper". And "maintain a home for every species" (even the little ones!). Advice from plenary speaker Peter Moyle on how to face, without despair, the permanent state of drought and no-analog freshwater ecosystems in California.

Sue's last hurrah at the business lunch mic. This was Sue Norton's last year as Secretary of the Society, and the minutes of the 2015 business meeting were highly entertaining (as usual), and everyone voted to approve them. (Mic drop?) We also found out that Sue will get a much-deserved Distinguished Service Award next year. Thanks and congrats Sue!!

Student Resources Committee now funding undergrad travel. They dedicated last year's silent auction income to the cause. Kudos, SRC!

$48 per member. That's how much it costs to run the Society these days (with 1622 members), according to Finance chair Kim Haag.

And 1 page per member? Journal editor Pam Silver reported that "JNABS is lost forever", but our new title FWS seems to be equilibrating to approximately 1600 pages per year.

Official SFS diversity statement. At the business lunch, we voted to approve a statement promoting [human] diversity in the Society. Other votes resulted in the addition to the by-laws of an SFS Fellows Program, FWS's new endowment fund (see Pam's Journal Notes), and a change in the title of "assistant to the president" to "vice-president".

The passing of the Mug (root beer). Matt Whiles wrapped up his 2015-2016 presidency ("I don't think I screwed up anything too bad, and if I did I'm sure Emily can fix it"). That would be our new president Emily Bernhardt, who gifted Matt a can of Mug root beer for his efforts.

New SRC co-chairs too. Jessica Fulgoni and Darrin Hunt are sharing the responsibility this year. Congrats to both, and we look forward to hearing more later about what's happening on the student front.

Who needs slides? Peter Gleick gave the third plenary talk sans slides, but including a wonderfully engaging mix of poetry and history of water crises. Poetry? Yes, here's an excerpt from "The Great Stink" of 1858 (London): "We can colonise the remotest ends of the earth; we can conquer India; we can pay the interest of the most enormous debt ever contracted; we can spread our name, and our fame, and our fructifying wealth to every part of the world; but we cannot clean the River Thames" Because the sentiment still applies, Peter's 'Third Age of Water' will have to happen soon, as we cannot keep relying on old, outdated approaches from earlier Ages.

What sells for 10 bucks an ounce? Bob Hall's homebrew, of course! He raised $220 for the Endowment with a single 22-oz beer.

Karaoke for a cause. Year 2 of this new tradition really brought the stars out, including new Prez and VP Emily B and Steve Thomas (as Kenny and Dolly), president-elect Colden Baxter (L-O-L-A Lola), a few that are getting to be event "regulars" (Checo Colon-Gaud, John Kominoski), and several more.

Angus Webb plenary. Advice from drought-expert Australia to California: short-term solutions don't work, but a thoughtful long-term view incorporating public ownership of water issues can bring meaningful change. Difficult? Yes. "Water management isn't rocket science; it's much harder."

Special sessions for special retirees. Both Cliff Dahm and Vince Resh had dedicated special sessions filled with stories, memories, jokes, praise, laughter, tears, and lots of appreciative students and colleagues.

Food trucks. Our "banquet" this year was super-hip: food trucks set up especially for us down by the railroad tracks. Great options to choose from, beautiful evening, and we even raised $5000 for the nearby Front Street Animal Shelter from this event.

TWITTER TAKEOVER. For a much more thorough meeting recap, including tons of photos and even video (hint: karaoke), Twitter these days does a better job than we do. Our hashtag #2016SFS was trending! Check it out to revisit meeting events in the form of 1000s of individual Tweets.

Thanks! To the USU Conference Management folks and the SFS Meeting Committee, including Amy Burgin, Jim Harrington, Jay Jones, and others. It was a great meeting!

Raleigh 2017. Time to start getting psyched for an east-coast adventure in North Carolina! Mike Paul and Jim Heffernan gave us a preview of the Raleigh meeting venue and local/regional freshwater attractions. And great news: Bob Hall is organizing something beer-related (who'da thunk?). See you there, SFSters!

President Matt Whiles (far left), Cliff Dahm (far right), and Cliff's family after his Award of Excellence presentation. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Some of the 2016 Instars planning their meeting activities. The Instars program helps bring undergraduates from under-represented groups to the SFS annual meetings and has been on a roll since it started in 2011 (Providence). (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Mollusk enthusiasts attend the pre-meeting mollusk sampling and ID workshop. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Irwin Polls and his daughter with the Distinguished Service Award traveling plaque. Guess whose name is the first one on that plaque? (Thanks, Irwin!) (photo: Mark Wetzel) (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Sue Norton enjoying her grand finale of calling for approval of the minutes of the SFS business meeting. Sue served as SFS Secretary for 8 years and stepped down this year. Sally Entrekin replaces her. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

New Prez Emily Bernhardt had everyone who has ever served on an SFS committee stand at the business lunch. This is why we are so awesome. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

The presidential gifting of the "mug", from new president Emily Bernhardt to past-prez Matt Whiles. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

SFS members from California got to put a special ribbon on their nametags in Sacramento. (photo: Deb Finn)

Look at all of these SFS student members that received Endowment Awards for travel to Sacramento! (photo: Mark Wetzel))

At the live auction, Emma and Matt decide if it is worth it to bid 100s of dollars for a bottle of Bob Hall's beer to support the Endowment fund. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

New SFS President Emily Bernhardt and VP Steve Thomas (aka Kenny and Dolly) perform "Islands in the Stream" to raise money for the Endowment. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

…And SFS president-elect Colden Baxter did a fine job of fund-raising as well. He could indeed be the world's most passionate stream ecologist (to the tune of the 'Lola' by the Kinks) (photo: Mark Wetzel))

The karaoke mosh pit. Was it John Kominoski that got everyone so worked up? (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Peter Pan (Checo Colon-Gaud) and a banana (Nick Macias) at the Sac2016 Fun Run. (photo: Emily Bernhardt)

A young taxonomy fair participant teaches Bob Smith how to identify caddisflies (replacing expert Jason Robinson temporarily). (photo: Mark Wetzel)

An SFS food-truck banquet, Sacramento style! (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Vince (2nd from left) and some of his fan club at the conclusion of the Resh special session. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

At the Vince Resh after-party, Vince gets full support from his ex-students. (photo: Cheryl Resh)

SFSters still going strong at Sacramento's Coin-Op bar on closing night of the annual meeting. (L to R: Meryl Mims, Julian Olden, Mike Bogan, Blanca Ríos-Touma, Miguel Cañedo-Argüelles) (photo: Deb Finn)

…And finally: SFSters have their own say. A haphazard collection of #2016SFS Tweets (not in any sort of order):




Your in the drift newsletter is brought to you by Deb Finn, Julie Zimmerman, and Patina Mendez. We represent the Public Information and Publicity (PIP) committee of SFS, co-chaired by Becky Bixby and Ayesha Burdett.
What's New
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 27: Animal Migrations andnd Freshwater Nutrient Subsidies , Amanda Subalusky more
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 26: Carbon Fates, Dr. Erin Hotchkiss more
  • Does Cultural Diversity Matter to Scientific Societies? Read the President's Environment more
  • SFS Student Presentation Awards! more
  • In the drift just fell into your sampler! The Spring 2015 Newsletter is here! more
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 14: Nitrogen Fixation in a Warming World, Dr. Jill Welter more
  • The President's Environment: What's New? more
  • Longtime SFS member and Oregon State University professor Dr. Norman Anderson passed away January 13, 2018.

  • 4th International Symposium of the Benthological Society of Asia and 2nd Youth Freshwater Ecology School August 19-25, 2018

  • 2018 Benthic Ecology Meeting (BEM) in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA: 28-30 March 2018.


  • The deadline to submit proposals for AQUATROP Special Sessions or Symposiums is now November 17, 2017

  • SFS joins CASS in condemning silencing of EPA scientists


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